Last week's letter was the first part of a speech I have been giving on what I think will be the rise of a new asset class. This week will be the second and final part. Let me set up this section with a few paragraphs from last week's letter and then a quick summary. If you want to read the entire letter from last week, you can go to the website archives.
But first, a quick note. George Friedman from Stratfor was at my daughter's wedding rehearsal dinner last night. He had just found out about the invasion of South Ossetia by Georgia and was keeping track of the events over his Blackberry from his correspondents on the ground in Georgia.
The media is not particularly excited over the events in Ossetia and Georgia, and the markets seem indifferent. It's much more important than it looks. This the first time since the fall of Communism that the Russians have directly and openly intervened in the former Soviet Union under the claim, made by Dmitri Medvedev, that Russia is the guarantor of security in the Caucasus. That's what the Russian Prime Minister Putin also said. Russia has claimed a sphere of influence in the Caucasus. And that is of historical importance. (Think Monroe Doctrine.)
This is payback for Kosovo. Putin didn't want an independent Kosovo and was ignored with contempt. Payback is an independent Ossetia, with Russian military intervention guaranteeing it. If it's good enough for the Americans and Europeans, it's good for the Russians too. Why the Georgians invaded Ossettia is opaque. For some reason they felt they had to move. The Russians were clearly ready and by dawn had armored formations in South Ossettia and air strikes in Georgia. (The Russian army is about 40 times the size of Georgia, and far better equipped.)